Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Shoals of Cibola

I've had a story in mind for quite some time now that I've wanted to write for Interzone. It's a direct continuation of the story that was begun in "The Final Voyage of La Riaza." It picks up with several of those characters in the immediate aftermath of the rather spectacular events of the earlier story, but is quite a different tale all together.

The trouble is, despite having the plot pretty well worked out in my head, and several of the set pieces clearly defined, the story wouldn't coalesce. It wouldn't reach critical mass. Everything, it seemed, was in place for me to write this darn thing, except it didn't want to be written. I'm sure the writers out there know of which I speak.

So today I'm browsing through Half Price Books, and I come across Sian Rees' book The Ship Thieves: The True Tale of James Porter, Colonial Pirate. This is the same author who wrote The Floating Brothel a few years back, so of course I pick it up and flip through it. There, quite at random, I see a sentence that makes everything in "The Shoals of Cibola" click into place. The result is a good night's worth of production (for me) and the growing certainty that what I initially thought might be a fun little 5,000-word adventure is going to balloon into an epic at least twice that length. Ah well, I should know by now, shouldn't I? Here's an unpolished sample of tonight's labors:
"Señor Brazos, what's happening?" Del Hoyo asked in a voice as coarse as grinding rocks. The crooked scar across his throat flushed red with panic.

Diego swore to himself, ignoring Del Hoyo. Almost the entire ship's complement had turned out.

"Señor Brazos, what in the name of Cibola am I going to do with you and your companions?"

Diego's eyes darted to the rear of the safety cage where a fat, yellow-bearded man clung, peering intently through a spyglass.

"Transport us to Ansuly, like you've been paid to do, Capitan Escarzaga," Diego said evenly, the faintest hint of anger seeping into his voice. "A very... generous fare it was, too, for simple passage."

Capitan Escarzaga heaved himself over the clustered airmen and clambered along the ceiling with surprising agility. He hung there weightless, glowering at Diego. "If it's just a simple passage, then why's there a Nueces ship running me down just three days out from Cydone?"

Oh, those pesky Nueces folks. Who'd have thought they'd get so worked up over a little thing like Diego burning half their fleet?

Now Playing: The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos Chant

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